Lemon Cake Cookies

When you live in Seattle, sometimes you have to insert your own sunshine into your days.

Especially when September rolls around and gorgeous summer days turn into gray rainyness. Rainyness that lasts for at least the next 8 months.

Don’t get me wrong, I love living here, but sometimes you just need some sunshiney yellow.

In the form of a soft, pillowy cookie, delicate like a tender cake.


With a tangy glaze to make it something extra special.

Mmm… I love glaze.

One of my favourite things about these cookies is the fact that it contains creme fraiche. It makes me feel fancy. And it’s also super easy to make your own. I have something to admit though. I may have cheated. A little.

I just didn’t have a 48 hrs to make my own creme fraiche but I would suggest you find the time. This alternative is not a cheap one!

But store-bought or homemade creme fraiche, these cookies are delicious. They’re not really even cookies, they’re soft, friendly little cakes.

Need a little sunshine?

Lemon Cake Cookies

Recipe from Anna Olson


  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 whole large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups crème fraiche (see recipe below) or sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups pastry flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar sifted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I usually have a slightly heavier hand with the lemon juice than the recipe because I love a more tangy glaze, but it’s tasty this way too!)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Creme Fraiche

  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 cups whipping cream


  1. Creme fraiche: Stir buttermilk into whipping cream and pour into a plastic container like a juice pitcher and cover with plastic wrap. Place pitcher in a larger container, and pour hot tap water around the pitcher, filling up to the height of the cream. Place container in a warm, draught-free spot (I find on top of the fridge is best) and let sit for 24 to 48 hours (it ripens faster in summer than winter).
  2. To determine if set, jiggle the pitcher slightly – the cream should be not shift and should have sweet-lemony smell. Chill completely. Spoon off crème fraiche, being certain not to stir in the liquid whey, which will settle at the bottom of the pitcher.
  3. Cookies: Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and stir in lemon zest. Beat in egg yolks and whole egg until fully incorporated. Stir in crème fraiche or sour cream until smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to wet ingredients and stir just until blended. Chill batter for 30 minutes, just to set butter a little.
  5. Preheat oven to 325 °F. Spoon tablespoons of batter (an ice cream scoop works great) onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, just until the bottoms of the cookies turn golden brown. Allow to cool before icing.
  6. Icing: Stir sifted icing sugar into lemon juice until smooth. Stir in melted butter (this will thicken the icing a bit). Dip the tops of the cookies into icing, and place on a cooling rack, so excess icing can drip off. Let cookies set 1 hour before removing, and store in an airtight container, with layers of parchment between the cookies to prevent sticking.

Makes approx. 2 dozen cookies.


5 thoughts on “Lemon Cake Cookies

  1. Marta – Creme fraiche is serious business! ;)

    Kat – They are definitely a comforting food with how soft they are!

    Juliane – Your pictures are great too! I love all the delicious close ups :) Thanks so much!

    Sophia – I do think Ina Garten tends to know what she’s doing, so I’m sure that cake is great! The yogurt probably makes it tender like the creme fraiche does in these cookies!

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